Magical Habits

My newspaper column this week: had a little trouble coming up with a topic so did some book reviews.

Books I Am Reading That You May Enjoy

1. Big Magic

I believe in magic. It is not like I have proof that there is magic in the sense of the paranormal, but I do believe in mysterious things, miraculous things, enchanting things, and all things charming and charmed. And when a book has the word Magic in its title, I just have to give it a whirl. Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) has just written a book called “Big Magic”. She is convinced that “the creative process is both magical and magic.”

When she refers to magic, she means it literally even though she admits that it is “decidedly unscientific” and not an “especially modern or rational way of seeing things.” She unabashedly believes in “magical thinking” and says that when she refers to magic she means “Like, in the Hogwarts sense. I am referring to the supernatural, the mystical, the inexplicable, the surreal, the divine, the transcendent, the otherworldly.”

She thinks that we all possess this magic and that “if you’re alive you are a creative person”. While the “guardians of high culture will try to convince you that the arts only belong to a chosen few” she strongly feels that “we are all the chosen few.”

Her definition of a creative person is a “maker” and that we are all descended from tens of thousands of years of “decorators, tinkerers, storytellers, fiddlers, drummers, builders, growers, problem solvers and embellishers”.

Why should you read this book? Because it expands on the definition of creativity to include all of us. And to me, that is magical.

2. Memoir

As a genre, I love memoir. I love to read about what people believe are things important enough in their life to share. And, I love to see just how they share them. I am also intrigued with how they deal with the TRUTH. While the truth may set you free, it can also get you in trouble. In the “Art of Memoir” by Mary Karr, she wrangles with the truth, and I think in an arm wrestle she would win.

She does not believe that Truth should be wrangled with and says that when she reads a Memoir, which she considers non-fiction (read: telling the real story), she does not want to wonder what the truth is. She says, “It niggles the hell out me never to know exactly what parts the fabricators (she does not bequeath them with the pure term memoirist if she feels they do not deserve the title) have fudged.”

She believes in the power of the Memoir (having written three herself), and says that writing a memoir “wring(s) some truth from the godawful mess of a single life.”

Why should you read this book? I will let Karr answer. She says that the act of bringing “oneself to others makes the whole planet less lonely.”

3. Habits

I like Gretchen Rubin. She writes books that she hopes will help people. And she is very sincere. Author of “The Happiness Project” and “Happy at Home”, her latest tome is called “Better Than Before”. In her latest offering she wants to help us master the “habits of our everyday lives.” Habits that make our lives flow; habits that once established free us up for living.

On the surface, habits seem dull, but in reality, they make way for the less mundane. Rubin believes that “all of my work on habits and happiness (is) meant to help us construct, as much as possible….everyday life with deep, loving relationships and productive satisfying work; everyday life with energy, health, and productivity; everyday life with fun, enthusiasm, and engagement, with as little regret, guilt, or anger as possible.”

Why should you read this? Again, I will let the author answer. Rubin says: “Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control.”

Any books you would like to add to the list?

Published in: on November 4, 2015 at 2:42 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I was especially interested in the Memoir book. I have read many “how-to” books on memoir because that is what I want to do someday. (I better hurry) One I really liked is The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith. I hope to connect some of my blogposts and turn it into a memoir.
    As usual, I enjoy your posts and you always make me THINK!

  2. There are so many books around and so little time to read them in well it feels that way at times

  3. I am always drawn to Dean Koontz. It explains a lot about the book I would like to finish writing!

  4. Thanks for the recommendations. I am reading a remarkable book called “The Gift of Alzheimer’s” by Maggie La Tourelle.

  5. H is for Hawk is a wonderful read. I cannot remember the author but will be writing about it soon! It’s about a young woman coming to terms with the death of her father as she trains a Goshawk, very moving and beautifully written. 🙂

  6. Patti Smith M Train. First half anyway. And loved Mary Karr’s new book Memoir….

  7. Thank you for these review. YES, writing is magical. I’m amazed by what comes forth from my pen every day. I’ll definitely check out the Gilbert book and share some bon mots with my creative writing students.

  8. Ah, I love these types of books also! I’ve read Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Gilbert…will have to pick up her new book! Thanks for the nudge! ~ Sheila

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